Congress president Sonia Gandhi Saturday paid tributes to her mother-in-law and late prime minister Indira Gandhi, saying her leadership during the liberation of Bangladesh was a 'prime example of her commitment' to protect India and its people.
Sonia Gandhi said there are some people who continue to inspire others even after their death. 'Such people create history and she was among them,' the Congress president said.
Gandhi said it was unbelievable to know that 'Indiraji is not among us'.
'It is very difficult to believe that it has been a quarter of a century since Indiraji was martyred, upholding the finest of our values. Even today she continues to inspire us by the ideal she espoused and the causes she championed.'
The Congress president was speaking at a function in Jawahar Bhawan to present the prestigious 24th Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration for 2008 to noted journalist, writer and human rights activist Balraj Puri.
Elaborating the late prime minister's 'numerous contributions', Sonia Gandhi recalled the green revolution that 'made India self reliant in food production'.
'She was a relentless campaigner for peace between nations but never hesitated in upholding India's supreme national interest. Her courageous and decisive leadership during the time leading to the liberation of Bangladesh (in December 1971) was a prime example of her commitment to protect India and its people.'
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also remembered Indira Gandhi's commitment to national unity and integrity and to the cause of secularism.
'Indiraji's contribution to India's integration and development is unparalleled.... Even 25 years after her martyrdom her legacy remains as strong as ever,' Manmohan Singh said.
'Her vision continues to inspire us and will continue to do so for ages,' he said.
Calling upon people to imbibe the late prime minister's idealism and values, the prime minister said: 'For centuries we have existed as a multi-religious and multi-cultural society, always ready to incorporate newer ways of life. It needs to be nurtured and strengthened. You should raise your voice against those who attempt to divide our country on communal lines.'
Manmohan Singh also lauded Puri's work in terror-hit Jammu and Kashmir.